May 17, 2018

Staples makes moves to buy Essendant

Source: Giphy

Staples, which was taken private last year by Sycamore Partners for $6.9 billion, yesterday disclosed a 9.9% stake in workplace supplies wholesaler Esesendant and offered to buy the rest for $11.50 per share in cash ($940m enterprise value, including debt).

Why it's a big deal: Because it's highly unusual for private equity sponsors to use their portfolio companies to put equity hooks into listed acquisition targets. Sycamore, however, has been known to use this strategy on its own.

Complication: Essendant already had agreed to a reverse merger with S.P. Richards, the wholesale distribution unit of Genuine Parts (NYSE: GPC). Staples' offer, if accepted, would scuttle that deal. Genuine Parts already has replied by increasing its deal to a contingent $12 per share.

Bottom line: Essendant's decision is likely to be based as much on anti-trust analysis as on dollars, with each suitor arguing that it offers the more promising path.

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China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown

People wearing facemasks stand near Yangtze River in Wuhan. Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

China has lifted its lockdown of Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: As cases surged in January, China took the draconian step of sealing off the city of 11 million and shutting down its economy — a response that was viewed at the time as only possible in an authoritarian system, but which has since been adopted by governments around the world.

Go deeperArrow12 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,381,014— Total deaths: 78,269 — Total recoveries: 292,973Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 378,289 — Total deaths: 11,830 — Total recoveries: 20,003Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill
  4. Federal government latest: Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week — Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. States update: New York death toll surged to its highest one-day total as state predicts a plateau in hospitalizations.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The race to reopen America
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill

Glenn Fine, acting Pentagon watchdog

President Trump on Monday replaced the Pentagon's acting Inspector General Glenn Fine, who had been selected to chair the panel overseeing the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed last month, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: A group of independent federal watchdogs selected Fine to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, but Fine's removal from his Pentagon job prevents him from being able to serve in that position — since the law only allows sitting inspectors general to fill the role.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy